Coho and Chinook Early Saltwater Introduction Rearing

The Port Armstrong Hatchery (PAH), which is owned and operated by Armstrong-Keta, Inc. (AKI), has been producing cohos annually since 1988 and Chinooks since 2001. The expansion of facilities at PAH for the production of both species has been supported by a series of Chinook Mitigation grants, including the US/Canada Mitigation Fund, the Southeast Sustainable Salmon Fund and the Chinook Mitigation Fund and these projects have had full support of the Alaska Trollers Association (ATA) and various Southeast Alaska communities. The ATA has encouraged AKI to submit this current application for boosting coho and Chinook production by acquiring additional net pens and making use of our new early introduction saltwater techniques, thereby avoiding the burdensome costs of developing increased freshwater delivery to the hatchery and installing on-land rearing raceways. The management and staff of the Little Port Walter Research Station have been similarly encouraging of this plan, as they have decades of expertise in the propagation of various Chinook stocks for dissemination to production hatcheries throughout Southeast Alaska and are interested in increasing their contributions to the Alaska salmon industry via collaboration with the salmon enhancement hatcheries.

AKI’s goal is to maximize the return of adult coho and Chinook salmon to lower Chatham Strait in order to benefit the troll and sport fisheries. Common property contributions of Port Armstrong cohos have ranged from 42% to 67%, with averages over 50%, as measured by ADF&G coded-wire tag recoveries. PAH has experienced higher contribution rates in recent years and also in years when buyers have been stationed locally, which in turn increases the number of trollers in the area. There is currently a processor stationing a buying barge at Port Armstrong each summer to take advantage our PAH production as well as the wild salmon in the area.